Florence – Day 3
Thursday, April 18, 2019
By now, we navigate like pros in Florence and even found a tunnel from the train station to safely cross the square and avoid all the traffic commotion…
This was Medici Day! We have been following the drama of this powerful Florentine family on Netflix, and it helped put some of the pieces of the puzzle together. But the story here picks up a few generations later when Cosimo I (1519-1574) and his wife Eleonora of Toledo turned Florence’s republic into a duke tyranny. In their world, no lavishing display of wealth was spared!
I immensely enjoyed the Palazzo Vecchio visit, and in my opinion, it is a must-see. We started by climbing the 418 narrow steps of the Tower, where you can take those iconic Florence pictures. Here, tourists management is fantastic because only a few people can climb at a time. This avoids congestion but also eliminates any crowds obstructing the view. Wonderful! 👍👍👍
After walking through the square courtyard, I was struck by the wide staircases in the Palazzo, with their polished low step and then it hit me… of course! I could picture myself as Madonna Eleonora, with my big gown to the floor, rushing downstairs to meet my husband for dinner… I would have needed room to manoeuvre, and those low steps would have made my descend swifter! It’s my version and I am sticking to it… 😀
Last stop of our visit: Il Grande Museo del Duomo. With the Firenze card, you can obtain a ticket giving you access to the cathedral, the dome, the baptistery, and the museum. With huge lineups everywhere, we opted for the museum and were glad we did. Interestingly, some of the original work removed from the Church, the Bell Tower, and the Baptistery, was kept here for the public to see. You can watch a short movie explaining the architectural ingenuity used to build the dome, leaving you baffled! The museum is quite a display of the golden age of Florentine art!
We left the Dome and the Santa Reparata Cathedral to the patient tourists who lined up all around the edifice. With early closures, it is not even guaranteed they will get in…
I have thoroughly enjoyed the art and the history of “old” Florence, and I appreciate the imprint they left on the world as the heart of the Renaissance.
Outside its historic core, however, Florence is an intense city, where the past is only a memory and the present is focused on offering visitors lots of bling and all the brand names known to the world. There are so many Bloor Streets or Rodeo Drives I can handle…
My appreciation for Lucca (already high) has gone up a notch, and a good Garmugia — a Lucchese hearty traditional soup going back to the 16th century — is all I need to end this day.